Wall of Hope

Before I Die Wall

Let’s climb that wall together.

My husband and I recently vacationed in Asheville, NC.  We never had a honeymoon, so this was it…nineteen years later…and our first vacation together in fifteen years without our child.  As the cliché goes, better late than never!

While walking down Biltmore Avenue, a wall caught our eye, entitled “Before I Die.”  On the wall were places for passersby to record their hopes and dreams for their lives.  What a beautiful idea!

Personal declarations for the masses to see.

Reading these declarations is inspiring.   We all have hopes and dreams.  Sometimes, these dreams seem unattainable, but we must not give up.  However, I believe that giving up is a roadblock that we all encounter at some point during our lives.   For people battling for mental health, we feel the weight of this stalwart roadblock all too deeply.  We require that nudge or encouragement from others probably more so than most.  For those with the invisible mental illnesses, like myself, this kindness can be life-saving.

Over the years, my “before I die” declarations have varied.
  • To survive
  • To be happy
  • To find meaning
  • To be of importance

These hopes always seemed just out of my grasp.  Reaching these goals have been the most monumental challenge of my forty-two years.  In comparison, all else is a cinch.  Don’t misunderstand; I am not always happy, always feeling important, and always feeling my purpose.  However after years of struggle, my days have finally flipped to be more positive than more negative.

Today, my “before I die” declarations are more specific.
  • To be a good wife and mother
  • To touch others’ lives in a positive way
  • To make a living through my passion of writing

It wasn’t until my husband and I returned home from vacation that I decided to Google this Asheville wall.  Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but these walls are constructed all over the world! From the USA to Japan to India to Ireland to Mexico to Canada to Brazil to Croatia and everywhere in between!

Before I Die has become a global participatory public art project that re-imagines our relationship with death and with one another. The original wall was created on an abandoned house in New Orleans by artist Candy Chang after the death of someone she loved. Since then, over two thousand Before I Die walls have been created in over 70 countries around the world. Each wall is created by local residents who want to make a space in their community to restore perspective and share more with one another. Each wall is a tribute to living an examined life.

Below are a few photos of the dreams on the wall that we stood before during the afternoon of June 29th in Asheville. 

What would you write? Share with me in the comments!

Hope Wall Hope Wall

Copyright © 2017 Alicia T-Rust. All rights reserved.

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